Finding something original...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by slickhare, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. slickhare

    slickhare TPF Noob!

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    lately when i try and shoot, i seem to be turning out cliched things or pics that draw from critically acclaimed shots of others. i can't seem to get anything original out of my work. when i first started out, i didn't seem to have the same problem. my pics in the gallery got comments and i was told i had a "good eye". but now i can't seem to find that same creative spark.

    so i was wondering if you all have any tips on how to find my own style (again)?
     
  2. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    I started off doing photography when I was 6. It took me 31 years and buying a digital camera to start developing a unique style.
    As with anything, practice, practice, practice.
    A good digital camera can help you with that.
    Start taking pictures of anything and everything. Then after a while, your style will develop.
    As for imitating someone else, odds are you wont be able to help that in the end. It'll just happen from time to time.

    As the Hitchhikers Guide Says...
    Don't panic!
     
  3. JohnMF

    JohnMF TPF Noob!

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    im not sure there is such thing as an 'original idea' anymore. everything just seems to be recycling old stuff with a new spin.
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Take a step back and look at all your work as whole. Pin what you perceive to be the strongest shots on a wall in chronological order. I bet you will see technical improvements. Look for common elements. May be it's that you shoot mostly buildings. May be that you always shoot at a 45º angle. As you look at these elements think on how they relate to something that says SLICKHARE!

    We are all influenced by amazing photographers. We have all shot the old barn during the magic hour. The point is that we do not live in a vacuum. Influence from everything is part of our growth. Shooting the classic shot is a good idea. The next move is to go deeper. Check out the back or side of the subject. Try and understand YOUR take on the subject.

    I have to say that I (respectfully) do not agree with JohnMF. There is incredibly original work being produced everyday. I strive to be a part of that.
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Individually, the elements of an image have all been done pretty much - subject, idea, approach, technical method. Where 'originality' comes from is how you put all these things together.
    In effect, it is our view on the world and life and what we have to say about it all that generates an 'original' view.
    If being 'original' was a simple matter then we would all be Mozart, Picasso, Orton, Vonnegut.....
     
  6. Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski

    Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski TPF Noob!

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    The major reason why many photographers are justifiably having a feeling that everything has been done, nothing is left to discover and originality cannot be achieved anymore is the conventional thinking, or the dogma, of the single image. Like Hertz van Rental speaks of "the elements of an image". In his view, originality can only come from how someone puts the elements of an image together. Progressive, innovative photographers do not think and work in those terms anymore. For them an image has become an element of a context created by the photographer. In order to communicate effectively, successfully and in an innovating way a photographer creates first a context in which his or her images function.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Possibly when your work appealed to the masses was when you were truely cliche, and now you have taken your own path, and your work is genius, too far ahead of it's time for most folks to understand. ;)

    Just keep thinking and shooting. Everyone has slumps in creativity and productivity. It seems to me that the longer I do photography, the harder it gets. This could be a sign that your photography is growing.

    Explore subject matter that really interests you. I do my best work when I have a connection to the subject matter beyond just a desire to photograph it.

    Also remember that it's okay to take cliche photographs, and copy the styles of other artists. Enjoy yourself and have fun.
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    If it helps, think of it as "quoting" another photographer. It happens in the written world all the time, so why not visually (and it does there, too). I agree with others: Mindset can help a lot. If you think in terms of getting a great photo that people will like, it can be a real struggle, especially the better you get. You realize that there is no optimum photo (and that the world loves a cliché).

    If you try to think of photography in terms of the written word, you might find more satisfaction. The cliché image is like a Hallmark greeting card phrase, but some images are essays. A series can be a full blown thesis paper. To me, a really good photographer goes beyond the technical and knows how to translate their thoughts into a visual statement. Instead of just knowing how to get a sharp image, the photographer knows how sharp and blurry affect the viewer's subconscious (or conscious, if they've learned the language) and when and where to use them in their statement. Now might be the time to read a bunch of graphic design books and dig into the psychology of visual mediums.

    The big thing I learned about style is that it's all about the choices you make consistantly. While an image or series is about a statement, style tends to be about world view. It's something that stays with you from image to image and series to series, at least until your world view changes. Do you see the world as absolute, filled with undisputable facts? Maybe your images tend to be all sharp focus and encompass wider angles. Do you see the truth as malleable, the "facts" depending on who's truth it is? Then maybe you tend to use a shollow DOF and tighter angles, or some other way to show that the photo isn't "the truth". I think photos tend to be most successful when all the elements come together to support the world view and the statement. As a viewer, you don't need to know the language to pick up on it; it happens subconsciously.
     
  9. slickhare

    slickhare TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the wonderful advice everyone! :)

    but i'm still in a serious artistic slump. everything i take comes out crappy. (quite a few battles with the onboard flash really, i really want an external). actually today i get to take some publicity pictures for a flyer for a play i'm in. so i'm pretty excited.
     
  10. 2framesbelowzero

    2framesbelowzero TPF Noob!

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    Slickhare
    i looked at your deviantart page and you are doing good things... enthuastic and active trying different things - all worthwhile.

    Funny you have posted that you are doing a flyer b/c looking at what you seem to go for, you may well be interested in going along a path of photography in combination with graphics and design.

    Are you mostly interested in being noticed for novel approach ? - you seem to be by your opening post.
    My own interest is in social scenes and approach is just practicality with
    some consideration to aperture and film speed if i want to emphasise part
    of the subject. Yearning for a 'new way' isn't something i think much about.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    For fun, some other folks thoughts on originality...

    "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism." -William Ralph Inge

    "Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do." -Robert Henri

    "All profoundly original work looks ugly at first." -Clement Greenberg

    "Originality is the art of concealing your source." -Franklin P. Jones

    "No man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth, without caring twopence how often it has been told before, you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." -C. S. Lewis

    "It does not matter how badly you paint, just so long as you don't paint badly like other people." -George Edward Moore

    "Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it." -Laurence J. Peter

    "I invent nothing. I rediscover" -Auguste Rodin
     
  12. slickhare

    slickhare TPF Noob!

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    i used to do a little bit of graphic design. but photo is more my thing. possibly in the future i might combine the experiences like you said.
     

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